In a year filled with news of fidget spinners, slime and the continued success of collectibles, 2017 saw the overall global toy market grow by 1%, according to The NPD Group’s latest report.
Twelve global markets tracked by NPD—including Mexico, Russia, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Spain, the US, Germany, Italy, France, Australia and the UK—grew on average by 1% to US$20.7 billion last year. The US, the world’s largest toy market, grew by 1% on its own. Meanwhile, Mexico and Russia led the pack as the fastest-growing markets at 12% and 11%, respectively, partially driven by inflation. The UK, however, experienced a 3% decline. Australia and France also saw declines of 2% and 1%, respectively.
NPD categories All Other Toys, Plush and Dolls were the fastest-growing sects both in the US and globally for the industry. All Other Toys grew by 14% globally in 2017 with the growth driven by fidget toys (which took off around Easter and peaked at the end of June) and slime kits.
Led by Hatchimals and Furreal Friends, the Plush category grew by 6%. Dolls, meanwhile, swelled by 5%, thanks to by L.O.L Surprise! and Hatchimals CollEGGtibles (pictured). Spin Master debuted the new Hatchimals line in May as a follow-up to its must-have Christmas toy of 2016. The new CollEGGtibles feature 70 figures each belonging to one of 13 families that won’t be revealed until the egg is opened.
Unsurprisingly, collectibles continued to be a leader of growth for the industry, largely driven by the continued success of blind packs. The global collectibles market grew by 14% to US$3.9 billion led by L.O.L. Surprise!, Hatchimals and LEGO Minifigures. In fact, collectibles made up around 8% of total industry dollar sales for the year.
The Games and Puzzles category rose by 3% both globally and in the US. The bulk of that growth came in the first eight months of the year. In 2016, this category was the fastest growing, marking a 16% increase.
According to NPD, 2017′s top three-selling toy properties were Star Wars at number one, followed by Nerf and Barbie. In the US, Nerf captured the number one spot, followed by Star Wars and Barbie.
Last July, NPD reported that global toy industry sales were up by 3% for the first half of 2017, with estimates that the industry would grow by 4% for the full year. This year’s numbers are also slightly lower than when the toy industry was booming in 2015 with a 6.7% increase driven by Star Wars toys, content-backed properties and extra shopping days. In 2016, the numbers were equally big, with growth between January and September 2016 up by 6%.